The client is an Internet startup offering a custom omnichannel e-commerce platform to retailers worldwide. Incapable of matching internal resources with project demand required that the client find a partner to support the completion of several complex platform enhancements. Revelry Labs was considered carefully and then contracted to supply a dedicated team of full-stack engineers with experience developing and customizing e-commerce solutions.
The client conveyed great satisfaction with the work completed by Revelry Labs. According to the client, Revelry Labs is now instrumental to the ongoing enhancement of their proprietary e-commerce platform. The client indicated that they have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from end users regarding the new features available to them, which were implemented in close collaboration with Revelry Labs. The client maintains an ongoing relationship with Revelry Labs and recommends them highly, especially to startups with demanding projects and aggressive timelines.
"Revelry works well with any fast-growing startup, which is good, and we wanted that... and [they] are very skilled in Ruby on Rails"
Please describe your organization.
Weblink has an e-commerce platform. We compete with Demandware with ATG. Sometimes, we help people upgrade from Magento onto our system. We've been in business for more than 20 years. We accepted our first round of venture capital last year with the idea of further developing the platform as fast as we could.
What is your position?
I'm the chief executive officer and a co-founder.
What business challenge were you trying to address with Revelry Labs?
Essentially, what we learned pretty quick was that we couldn't hire fast enough to meet the milestones that we had established. We looked around and saw Revelry as a good company to act as a member of our team in the development and help us with developing third-party plug-ins. They were to offer general assistance with the overall platform development. We've also used them as an implementation partner, helping our clients get up and running with our software. At this point, I think we've worked with six or seven developers on their team.
We've taken advantage of pair programming with an apprentice. Then, connect that person up with a lead developer. It's worked out pretty good for us. A lot of our stuff has some not-so-exciting grunt work that needs to get done, so it's nice to have the discounted rate of the apprentice working underneath somebody. For this stuff, it's going to be a little bit more difficult. Nice to know there's a lead person there, too.
Please describe the scope of their involvement.
They developed using Ruby on Rails, and we use MongoDB also for the database, and a zillion other tools, as well, but those are the main ones. Like I said, we used a different amount of developers depending on what stage we were working on, or what specific features. They always handled the custom coding and testing, and we offered guidance and helped with specifications.
How did you come to work with Revelry Labs?
John, their sales guy, might've reached out to me at some point. It was good timing. I went through my email and looked for anybody that was saying, "Hey, we want to outsource development work," or whatever. Then I looked at everybody's portfolio and what they had done. I liked that these guys were based in the United States. We hadn't used anybody before in this manner, so I didn't want to have to have any of the challenges of having somebody in another country or anything like that. I wanted somebody that spoke fluent English and worked the basic same hours that we worked because I knew it could've been a challenge.
It's been good. We started out with just two developers, and then we – I think we're at six now, and they all work on a full-time basis. They work 40 hours a week.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
We've spent half a million, at least.
What is the status of this engagement?
They're working every day on stuff. All of our different projects and teams have different clients they're working for with different projects, and so stuff is ending all the time. We work in sprints, so then with very specific pieces and parts to those sprints. They're literally giving us something every couple of days. We have used them on some major projects where they worked independently. We've approached them with, "Hey, we need to get this system and processing company to work with our e-commerce platform. We don't have time to focus on this. Can you guys knock it out?" They've been good at that. The quality and reliability are great and we rarely get negative feedback about bugs or malfunctions.
Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
I can only really talk generally, but we know that when their code comes back, it doesn't usually have to go back to them for fixes because we'll do our own code reviews and testing. It seems they've done a good job at that. It's just helped us, as a company, helped us move faster and hit our goals quicker. Feedback from our developers has been good. Everybody's been pretty happy. Our developers haven't worked with other companies in this way. This was the first time we've done this. Most of the guys that are on our team hadn't done this before. It was a little bit of a risk. They're definitely learning on the job, but they seem to be enjoying it.
How did Revelry Labs perform from a project management standpoint?
For project management stuff, we used the Alassian Suite, so we use JIRA, Confluence, and HipChat, and all that stuff. We use a different proprietary time-tracking system that they track their time in so we can keep track of what's going on that side, too.
We're basically paying for time and materials. We're essentially paying for 40 hours a week for anybody that's on our projects and they do 40 hours' worth of work. Essentially, it's time and materials, but it's a little bit beyond that. I would say that's probably the max that we're going to get, the max on our end or their end. I think everybody's pretty realistic.
What distinguishes Revelry Labs from other providers?
They work well with any fast-growing startup, which is good, and we wanted that. I didn't want somebody who would be stressed out because we wanted something tomorrow. Then, the technologists are very skilled in Ruby on Rails. They understood the structure of MongoDB document database, which is very unique. It was helpful that we didn't have to train them in that.